Field Hockey team attends training camp at the University of Iowa


Dawn Callahan

Getting ready for their first session, the field hockey team meets other campers in preparation for training. The camp consisted of five training sessions over three days, totalling at just over 10 hours of practice. “We were barely in our dorm rooms because we were busy going to practices, games and of course meals,” senior and varsity captain Olivia Reimer said. “[Before this camp] we had never gone out of town with our team, so it helped us bond and learn more skills that we can incorporate into this season.”

With 12 girls, two coaches and enough suitcases to slow their cars down, the field hockey team embarked on a four-hour drive to Iowa City, Iowa for a three-day training camp with the D1 University of Iowa field hockey team from July 19-21.  

“When I heard about the training camp, there were no words to describe how excited I was.  I just got really giddy because I had never traveled with a team before, and I was really eager to experience training with a D1 team,” freshman and JV player Giselle Bauer said. “I was really lucky to get to go with the girls that I went with, and it ended up being one of my favorite summer memories.”

Upon arrival, the team moved into their dorms for the weekend and went straight to their first training session

“I don’t know why I thought [the training] would be less, even though it was a field hockey camp. In just one day, we had three practices that were over two hours each,” senior and varsity captain Olivia Reimer said. “Since the University of Iowa has a Division 1 Field Hockey team, I was kind of nervous going into it, thinking that I may not be good enough, but ended up not feeling that way and just had fun with my team.

In between sessions, the girls used their free time to bond with their new teammates and get back into their team dynamic.

At one point we unraveled these Hawaiian leis that we had bought and built obstacle courses [on our lofts] with them. Once we finished using them for obstacle courses, we built a blanket fort,” Bauer said.

The University of Iowa Field Hockey team plays on water-based turf, which is a type of extra-short turf that is completely soaked before each use. Water turf was developed specifically to improve ball movement and control for field hockey.

“I had never played on water-based turf until [camp], so that aspect of the training was really amazing,” Bauer said. “The training was actually tons of fun, and it was a completely different experience from the training that we do at school.”

Because the girls are used to playing on regular turf and grass fields, the University of Iowa training facilities and coaches helped them increase their energy during the long sessions.

“The intensity was really high and that’s something that took me a second to get used to, but overall it was great. The coaches all gave us great advice on how to improve our skills and the water turf they had was amazing to play on,” junior and varsity player Maya Hassan said. “[The Iowa coaches and players] really helped and encouraged us while playing, and I feel like our team improved a lot.”

During the sessions, the team focused on improving their vision, movement and accuracy in their passes.

“Our team really did improve from day one to day three because we were there for a reason and that was to get better at field hockey. We all put a lot of work into practicing new tricks and refining them. It was also nice to be practicing with other people from different schools because they also care about field hockey and they came to get better as well. It was a great model to show how our practices during the season should look,” Reimer said.

Now, as the team progresses into their 2018 season, they are each working to utilize the strengths they picked up in Iowa.  

“One of the things that really stuck with me during training was keeping my eyes up and not exclusively focusing on the ball on the field. The coaches kept reminding us that ‘light travels faster than sound,’” Bauer said. “Now, when we do drills and scrimmage at practice, I try to focus on what’s in front of me, not below me, and in games, I try to look for my passing options first rather than only waiting for them to call for the ball.”

Despite this being the first year the camp was offered, the returning players are already looking forward to the possibility of going back with a new team in 2019.

“[This camp] brought us closer as a team because we got to enjoy this amazing experience together,” Hassan said. “We got to travel and improve our skills together in another state and work with teammates who are pretty much our family.”